Legislation Creating Process for Federal Government Reorganization Advances
COPY OF PLAN
S.3137 - Reforming Government Act of 2018
Following release of a plan to privatize the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and move federal benefits programs out of OPM, NARFE members should contact their legislators and voice their unease with the administration’s government reorganization plan. On September 26, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved the Reforming Government Act of 2018, S. 3137, and unanimously advanced a modified version of the legislation to the full Senate chamber. S. 3137 would create a procedure for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to submit a formal government reorganization plan to Congress for consideration and a vote. The legislation would provide OMB two years to submit a formal reorganization plan to Congress that would accomplish cost savings or decrease the number of federal agencies.
During the markup, Democrats expressed apprehension that a 51-vote requirement to pass the reorganization proposals would pollute the process with partisanship and diminish any opportunity to accomplish meaningful reforms. To induce bipartisanship, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-ND, put forward an amendment that would require a 60-vote margin to pass the formal reorganization proposals into law. After further deliberation, the committee agreed to a modified amendment introduced by Heitkamp and then reported the bill favorably to the full Senate. This amendment maintains the simple majority vote, but requires the formal reorganization plan to acquire a minimum of five cosponsors from each party to ensure bipartisanship and minority party buy-in. Companion legislation in the House has not been considered.
NARFE has grave concerns with certain aspects of the administration’s reorganization plan. Among these is a concern that transferring federal personnel policy from OPM to the Executive Office of the President risks exposing nonpartisan career civil servants to tumultuous politicization. This is especially troubling considering the administration’s recent proposed cuts to federal earned pay and benefits. Likewise, the administration of federal retirement and health benefits may receive less attention and resources with the transferring of OPM’s programmatic functions to an expanded General Services Administration (GSA). Additionally, the reorganization plan’s proposal to privatize USPS would severely undermine the agency’s prized universal service and jeopardize the jobs, pay, benefits and retirement security of dedicated postal employees. NARFE members should express their concerns with these changes to their legislators using NARFE’s legislative action center.
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